Senate Dems and the state Party have put nearly four times the resources into state Sen. Jeff Smith’s campaign since Sept. 1 as they have for their three candidates in the other most watched Senate races this fall, according to a review of campaign finance reports.
Republicans need to net one seat this fall to take a two-thirds majority. To prevent that, Dems would have to hold onto Smith’s western Wisconsin 31st SD seat and either defend the open 25th or pick up one of the 9th or 19th districts.
But the State Senate Democratic Committee and the state party put less than $14,000 into the campaign of Kelly Westlund in the 25th. Westlund, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and the Dem candidates in the 5th and 19th have all been outraised significantly since Sept. 1, according to the latest campaign finance filings.
Along with being the only Dem incumbent in the four targeted races, Smith is a member of leadership as the caucus chair.
Smith, of Brunswick, reported $467,270 raised Sept. 1-Oct. 24, $652,049 spent and $15,992 cash on hand to close the pre-election period.
SSDC transferred $200,000 to Smith’s campaign during the period and contributed $11,656 in in-kind donations. SSDC has also transferred $122,000 to Smith’s campaign since the last reporting period closed, and he reported $47,399 in in-kind donations from the state party.
Meanwhile, Republican Dave Estenson reported $212,338 raised during the pre-election period, $226,632 spent and $40,372 in the bank. His report listed $165,826 in in-kind donations from the Committee to Elect a Republican Senate and the state GOP.
He also has reported $160,645 in late in-kind donations from both since the pre-election reporting period closed.
According to numbers compiled by Marquette University researcher John Johnson, the seat has had a near 50-50 split when looking at the results from the last two presidential elections and the 2018 guv contest.
Here are overviews of the fundraising numbers in the other most watched state Senate races:
*In the open 25th, former GOP state Rep. Romaine Quinn reported $213,297 in receipts, $303,077 spent and $44,398 in the bank. His report listed $126,794 in-kinds from CERS and the state GOP. He also reported $138,512 in late contributions from the two.
Westlund reported $86,774 raised, $81,498 spent and $111,925 in the bank. His report listed $7,771 in in-kind donations from SSDC, along with a $6,000 transfer from the state Dem Party.
The seat is a 53.7 percent Republican district.
*In the open 19th SD, state Rep. Rachael Cabral-Guevara, R-Appleton, raised $328,392, spent $348,841 and had $72,123. She listed $90,644 in loans. Her report listed $238,607 in in-kind donations from CERS and the state GOP. She’s also filed a late contribution report listing $150,789 in in-kind donations from CERS.
Dem Kristin Alfheim, of Appleton, listed $135,137 in receipts, $178,463 in expenses and $19,231 in the bank. She also listed $10,000 in loans. Her report included a $70,000 transfer from SSDC and $6,000 from the state Dem Party. She also reported $9,124 in in-kind donations from the party and the caucus.
It’s a 52.4 percent GOP seat.
*in the open 5th SD, former GOP state Rep. Rob Hutton reported $286,311 raised, $305,400 spent and $107,920 in the bank. His report listed $206,647 in in-kind donations from CERS and the state GOP. He also filed a late contribution report detailing $94,300 in late in-kind donations from CERS.
Dem Jessica Katzenmeyer reported $67,053 raised, $20,188 spent and $66,913 in the bank. Her report listed an $11,000 transfer from the Dem Party and $8,234 in in-kind donations from the party and SSDC. She also filed a late contribution report listing a $10,000 donation from SSDC.
It’s a 53.6 percent GOP seat.